The mission of the Manhattan Institute is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.
Annually, since 2007, the Manhattan Institute has sponsored the William
E. Simon lecture on philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. This
lecture series seeks to provide a frameworkhistorical and current, scholarly
and personalfor understanding the tradition and trends in American charity
and charitable enterprises. Our first three lectures have ranged widely
across these fields, including the 2007 talk by a distinguished historian,
the 2008 talk by a renowned public policy essayist, and the December,
2009 lecture by the founder of the nation's most prominent management
consulting firm for non-profits.
November 29, 2007 | New York City Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship
Speaker: David Nasaw, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Professor of History at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York VIDEO
Social Entrepreneurship Awards
History has shown that free markets are the best way to organize economic activity. But the Manhattan Institute understands that in a healthy society markets are complemented by charitable and philanthropic enterprises which both help those in need and help prepare citizens to realize their potential. Indeed, Adam Smith himself understood this; his writing on the virtues of markets (Wealth of Nations) was preceded by his writing on morality, compassion, and altruism (Theory of Moral Sentiments). Since its founding, the United States has been characterized by its vibrant civil society, one in which private, nonprofit, voluntary nongovernmental organizations are formed to ameliorate social ills.
To underscore the importance we place on this part of American society, the Manhattan Institute, since 2001, has presented two annual awards recognize the work of this we call “social entrepreneurs”—those who have built effective organizations that address social needs, through civil society not government.
William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneuship
The William E. Simon Prize for lifetime achievement in social entreprenuership recognizes the founder-leaders of long-establsihed organizations, with a proven track record of effectiveness and influence. The Simon Prize carries with it a $100,000 personal honorarium. Named for the one-time secretary
of the Treasury and pioneer private equity fund leader, the Prize has
been awarded to those who have followed in the footsteps of such great
American historical figures as Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross
and Jane Addams, founder of Hull House, inspiration for hundreds of early
20th-century settlement houses for immigrants.
Nominations for the Simon Prize are accepted from the general public, with special attention paid to nominations from philanthropic donors.
Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneuship
Through the Richard E. Cornuelle awards, we also recognize younger organizations, whose fresh ideas and innovations are identifying new approaches to helping those in need. The Cornuelle Award carries with $25,000 in grant support to the organization itself. Up to five organizations are recognized each year. In keeping with the social
entrepreneurship program's emphasis on the vitality of American civil
society, the award is directed toward those with original ideas brought
to fruition with predominantly private support, rather than in response
to government grant programs.
Tocqueville observed just this in Democracy in America:
"Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly
form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies
but associations of a thousand other kinds-religious, moral, serious,
futile, enormous, or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give
entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches,
to diffuse books; to send out missionaries; they found in this manner
hospitals, prisons, and schools. Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking,
you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the
United States you will be sure to find an association."
Both to celebrate and support this tradition, the Manhattan Institute
established our social entrepreneurship initiative in 2001. Directed by
Vice-President for Policy Research Howard Husock, it combines research,
writing, public speaking, and events on the role of nonprofit, nongovernmental
organizations with an award program which recognizes the best of America's
new generation of nonprofit leaders.
The term "social entrepreneur," now widely used, has
taken on a variety of meanings. Some use it to refer to policy advocates,
even government officials. For our part, we use it to refer to those
who develop an original approach to dealing with a social problemand
who found and lead an organization with demonstrated effectiveness
in ameliorating that problem through tangible services to individuals.
Our award program recognizes those with the ambition to increase
the scale or reach of their approach, whether by expanding their
own program or providing a model for others who would start similar
organizations. It is our view that such "scale" is
important, as both America and nations around the world (including
such still-developing societies as India and China) consider whether
a larger government welfare state is the only way, or the most effective
way, to deal with social problemsor if we can look to a robust,
civil society instead. It is with an eye toward showing results and
reaching increasing numbers of those in need that we assess the winners
of our annual social entrepreneurship awards. We recognize both those
whose accomplishments have been demonstrated over a lifetime of service,
as well as those who have only recently founded organizations that
are already proving to be effective and important.
As part of our Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, vice-president Howard
Husock has published widely on the topic and related public policy issues.
The following essays and articles explore such themes as the Obama Administration's
view of government's relationship to charity and nonprofits; the potential
for a non-profit "stock market"; and the values and motivations
of the new generation of social entrpreneurs.
This year Rev. Timothy R. Scully, a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, was awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship for founding and leading the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).
“On behalf of the entire University, I want to congratulate Father Scully for this recognition and for his leadership in supporting Catholic schools and the essential service they provide in delivering spiritually enriching, morally grounded, quality education to many of the nation’s poorest children,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, President of the University of Notre Dame.
The winners of the Richard C. Cornuelle Award for Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship included individuals and organizations that offer hands-on assistance to victims of natural disasters, inspire at-risk minority youth through the arts, help at-risk urban children through mentoring, and provide mental health services to military families.